Noah from NRG Off-Road Motorsports (97) takes us through his 2015 Driven to the Edge challenge at Walters Arena.
The weather was appalling but it is in Wales, after all.
Following the drivers brief there was a bitterly cold wait for the off as the rain forced it’s way past our windscreen… ha-ha. (windscreen is on the to-do list this winter!!) We set off on the first lap being fairly gentle on the car, the ground was slippery and the course wound back and forth through the woods of Walters. The first challenge section was the quarry (maxxis bowl) where all of the punches had cars at them, making us decide to take the 20 minute penalty for missing a punch and pushing on. A decision that I regret! We carried on from here with everything going well, though I must say I’m thankful for the short wheelbase of the car, as if it were any longer I’m sure some of the turns in the trees could have posed an issue. Next we were into the rock section, whereby we caught an easy punch on the left, dropping into the riverbed. That allowed us to pass a couple of cars and follow into the next speed portion of the course. Well. Speed. Ha. There was about a mile of flowing track leading to the bog area, which was pitifully slow in the old Landy, every lap! The 2.25 definitely struggled on the long uphill stretch- 3rd was revving it’s nuts off, 4th was bogging it down. We lost a lot of time during this stretch- hopefully for the last time now, hopefully no longer battling with so little power! In the odyssey arena Chris had laid out some “fun” punches. On our first go, we decided to do the bowl-of-water-on – lap punch… 1/2 landed on Jason’s lap, half went in my face. Cheers mate!
Heading into the second lap we were soon faced with problems. The first speed section was plain sailing, but on the punch in the quarry we lost the power steering. To top this off, in the same hole that we lost steering, the clutch started to give up. Not ideal for the 2nd lap of the event! We soon dropped into the river bed again, which without power steering was a bit of a nightmare, once we’d got the punch we dropped down one of the big steps- unfortunately due to the steering playing up I picked a bad line and bent the steering arm. This gave us reduced right lock but luckily held out for the rest of the weekend. We then blasted the rest of the stage as best we could with a slipping clutch and duff steering, getting the easiest punch possible in the bog section to avoid cooking the clutch any more, and then followed eventually back into the odyssey arena just in time to see a pretty spectacular roll on the blindfold drive punch- we offered to help out straight away and used our GigglepinWinches.com 2up to right the v8 sj. Unfortunately in this time, our battery light came on, likely to be a belt, which despite being no worries for our odyssey pc2150, also drives our water pump- because of this we decided to just get into the pits and take the penalty on this stage rather than to risk harming the engine.
An hour or 2 later, the car was ready for the night lap. However, the gearbox was getting pretty bad by this time, it jumps out of every gear but 1st now- most commonly 2nd. This became a bit tricky on some of the drop offs, as Jason had to hold it in gear while I man handled the Landy past the trees. Once again, the weather played havoc as the lights caused more problems than they solved, with the light reflecting back off of the rain. This turned out to be a problem for us, as we took the wrong turn a couple of times and had to reverse back onto the right track. Despite that, the lap was fairly uneventful and gave us little to work on for Sunday morning.
Sunday was much smoother for us. The weather started to clear up a bit and it was just wind that battered the valleys. We set off with one thing in mind; finishing. The previous days experience with the punches played dividends, as we set our fastest lap of the weekend. Also noticing that we didn’t have any drive on the passenger front wheel. A locking hub is playing up, so we need to get solid drive flanges in there for next year.
By Noah Gibbard NRG Racing